Dedicated to the people lost their lives at İstanbul Gezi Park Protests…
“What was the first thing in your childhood that you deeply desired? How can you translate it into a piece of jewellery?” was Philip Sajet’s question in the workshop that we participated at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School. After two hours work of memory digging my answer was “freedom“. I remembered the day that I started a small protest at home against my parents who did not allow me to participate in a school trip (to Cappadocia) when I was 12. I was lying on the floor for 2-3 hours with a piece of paper, “Going to Cappadocia is my right, one way or another I will go!” written on it. It was the first time that I stood up for my rights and fought for my freedom.
The idea was creating a piece of jewellery by combining this strong childhood memory with Gezi Park Protests which took place in my hometown, in Turkey. During the protests government’s consideration of the protective masks as an evidence of a crime and the people who carry the masks as terrorists without a legal base, was the reason to use the mask as the main part of the necklace. By turning the mask into a necklace I aimed to question if “wearing the mask as a piece of jewellery can also be an evidence of a crime”. Also I aimed to focus attention on all illegal treatments against human rights during the protests.
Gezi Protests were a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Turkey, which began on 28 May 2013, initially to contest the urban development plan for İstanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. The protests were sparked by outrage at the violent eviction of a sit-in at the park protesting the plan. Subsequently, supporting anti-government protests and strikes took place across Turkey protesting a wide range of concerns, at the core of which were issues of freedom of the press, of expression, and the right to organize an assembly.
3,5 million people are estimated to have taken an active part in almost 5,000 demonstrations across Turkey connected with the original Gezi Park protest. Police suppressed the protests with tear gas and water cannons. In addition to the 11 deaths and over 8,000 injuries, more than 3,000 arrests were made.
Excessive use of force by police and the overall absence of government dialogue with the protesters was criticized by some foreign countries and international organisations.
“The attempt to smash the Gezi Park protest movement involved a string of human rights violations on a huge scale. They include the utter denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to live, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment.” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s expert on Turkey. The organisation also recorded that many demonstrators were injured by police or were unlawfully detained, beaten or sexually assaulted during detention.
During the protests, carrying protective masks which were used by the protesters to protect themselves from the excessive tear gas, was considered as an evidence of crime.
Stand up for a better future wherever you are…